THE chairman of the MK Dons Supporters Association says the club’s ticket policy for Saturday’s League One game with Tranmere Rovers is a ‘contentious’ issue for some fans.
John Brockwell told the Citizen that some of the club’s city-based supporters have been left feeling aggrieved at having to pay more to see the game than those who live down the A421.
Saturday’s match is the club’s designated ‘Buckingham Day’ and special reduced ticket prices are available only to football fans of the market town.
The day will see bands, singers, cheerleaders and the Town Crier of Buckingham all descend upon stadium:mk, with Dons looking to widen their fanbase and attract new supporters to the club.
Dons have been building links in Buckingham over the past couple of months - the club’s mascots even switched on the Christmas lights in the town, and chairman Pete Winkelman and manager Karl Robinson were present at a fans’ forum held there.
Residents and businesses from Buckingham can buy tickets for the match for just £10 for adults, while Dons fans from everywhere else will have to pay the full price of between £19 and £26.
Mr Brockwell said that ‘floating’ fans from Milton Keynes could be put off from attending the match by having to pay more because they don’t happen to have an MK18 postcode.
Dons are expecting to bolster the crowd for Tranmere’s visit by 1,000, while Buckingham’s two amateur clubs play away from home. Links have been built with Buckingham Town FC - where the recent fans’ forum was held - but Buckingham Athletic have not been involved.
One Athletic official said Dons had not approached them, and that they hadn’t been consulted on the matter.
An extra 1,000 on the gate for Saturday’s fixture suggests that Dons’ venture into Buckingham has been a success, which could mean the club looks to do likewise elsewhere.
As well as attracting fans from the west of the city, it’s thought the club is also exploring options to widen the net further in other directions, with Leighton Buzzard to the south, Bedford to the east and Towcester to the north the potential targets for similar local promotions.
Saturday’s experience may well prove a little head-scratching to some Dons fans - the matchday programme is also set to feature eight pages of ‘Buckingham news’.
But if the extra numbers help to create a better atmosphere and give the team a lift, then it should make for a good day.